With Anthony Hopkins As Odin, Is Brian Blessed Still In 'Thor'?

MTV.com, 30 October 2009
By Josh Wigler

This morning, fans all across the world woke up to news that Sir Anthony Hopkins is in negotiations to join "Thor" as Odin, the ruler of Asgard and father to the titular God of Thunder. Given the Oscar-winning actor's high profile status, Hopkins' attachment to "Thor" is certainly a surprise, albeit a welcome one.

Still, that's not the only reason to be surprised—after all, wasn't Brian Blessed supposed to be Odin?

Blessed, a longtime collaborator of "Thor" director Kenneth Branagh, was mentioned back in June as a veritable lock for the part of Odin. With Hopkins now securing the part, it's worth wondering why Blessed's attachment was considered such a certainty in the first place. As it turns out, the rumor had a pretty solid source—none other than Blessed himself.

Comics site Bleeding Cool, which first threw out the anonymously sourced connection between Blessed and "Thor," now looks to be defending their debunked casting rumor. The site claims (again, without any official quotes, so take their report with a hefty grain of salt) that Blessed told a wealth of people he'd be playing Odin in "Thor" over the last several months.

However, if their reports have any validity, it does seem possible that Blessed mixed up the specific role he has to play in "Thor," but not the fact that he's actually involved in the film—and potentially in a different role.

Clearly, Blessed is a good physical match for the boisterous Volstagg, one of the Warriors Three. We've already heard whispers that Fandral has a role in "Thor," so it makes sense that Volstagg and Hogun would fight alongside him as well. But at 72 years old, Blessed might be a little old for the action-heavy scenes that would come with playing Volstagg.

What if Blessed merely has a cameo role, or a non-Asgardian presence? The inclusion of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster cements the fact that humanity will factor into "Thor," and I could absolutely see Blessed playing such a mortal character, if only to bring the Shakespearean element from Asgard to Earth.

Then again, maybe Blessed was attached to play Odin before Hopkins came along. Meritorious as he is, Blessed doesn't carry the same name recognition as Hopkins, so the casting of the latter actor seems like a trade-up for a movie that is already touting relative unknowns in the leading roles.

Whether Blessed is in "Thor" or not, the inclusion of Hopkins is certainly a sign that "Thor" is ramping up—and as a result, we can expect an official full-scale casting reveal before too much longer.

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